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Esther Harding Conversations with Jung

[Carl Jung on the “Single Animus Figure.]

I began the hour by telling Jung how something wonderful had happened to me yesterday, that his talk on the animus relationship had cleared things up, so that much had clicked into place, and that now I felt quite different.

I said that yesterday we were dealing with the negative relationship to the animus, but there must also be a positive relationship.

He replied that there certainly must-but that the important part of analysis was to get that negative point cleared, for that is the growing point of differentiation from the unconscious.

Until that is clear, the voice of the animus is as the voice of God within us; in any case, we respond to it as if it were.

When we are not aware of the negative aspect of the animus, we are still animal, still connected to nature, thereforeunconscious and less than human.

We need to reach a higher degree of consciousness, which must be sought at that point.

Then we discover a new country.

And it is our responsibility to cultivate it. (“To him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”)

Also the legend of Christ and the man working on the Sabbath, to whom he said, “If thou knowest what thou doest, blessed
art thou! But if thou knowest not what thou doest, cursed art thou!”

If we are conscious, morality no longer exists.

If we are not conscious, we are still slaves and are accursed if we obey not the law.

He said that if we belong to the secret church, then we belong, and we need not worry about it, but can go our own

If we do not belong, no amount of teaching or organization can bring us there.

Then I asked him about a single animus figure, and he said, “Many souls are young; they are promiscuous; they are prostitutes in the unconscious and sell themselves cheaply.

They are like flowers that bloom and die and come again.

Other souls are older, like trees or palms.

They find, or must seek, one complete animus, who shall perhaps be many in one.

And when they find him, it is like the closing of an electric circuit.

Then they know the meaning of life.”

“But to have an animus like an archimandrite (M.E.H. had dreamt of an abbot, an archimandrite] , is as if to say,

You are a priest of the Mysteries.

And this needs a great humility to counterbalance it.

You need to go down to the level of the mice.

And as a tree, so great as the height of its branches, so deep must be the depths of its roots.

And the meaning of the tree is neither in the roots, nor in the uplifted crown, but in the life in between them.”

Then I asked him how to get the mean between the two worlds, between the world of the unconscious and that of reality.

He replied, “You are the mediator.

It is in your immediate life that they meet.

In the pleroma they are merged -in nature they are one-and the primitive is always striving up against its oneness.

The glacier is always there.

Our civilization finds an adaptation that will satisfy these things for a while, and they are quiet.

Then they begin to come up again, and again we find a new adaptation, and they are quiet once more.

Today we are in a period of great transition, and they come up again.

Eventually they will swallow man, but it will not be the same again, for he has attained the union of the opposites through their separation.

Possibly, after man will come a period of the animal and then again the plant-who knows?-and who or what will carry on the lamp of consciousness?

Who knows? ~Esther Harding, Conversations with Jung, Pages 9-10